Dead Man is the soundtrack to the 1995 Jim Jarmusch western-themed film of the same name starring Gary Farmer, and Johnny Depp as William Blake. Neil Young recorded the soundtrack by improvising (mostly on his electric guitar, with some acoustic guitar, piano and organ) as he watched the newly edited film alone in a recording studio. The soundtrack album consists of seven instrumental tracks by Young, with dialog excerpts from the film and Johnny Depp reading the poetry of William Blake interspersed between the music. The version of the main theme used over the film's beginning and end credits is not included, but was released as a promo single. The soundtrack differs from the film in that it uses background noises of a driving car while the whole plot is set in the 19th century (before automobiles were invented).
In addition to a standard CD release, a "special edition" was released, which was bound in a customized cover. Made to look like a 19th-century photo album, the spine is covered in a mauve-brown cloth and the cover itself is a black laminated cardboard. The booklet normally included in the CD is bound in this "book" along with a cardboard folder to hold the disc itself.